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Missed out on Atom’s 2% one-year bond? Your options now

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
If you missed out on Atom Bank’s market-leading one-year fixed rate bond paying 2%, here are some other options if you want to tie up your cash for a short period of time.

Atom Bank last week cut the interest rate on its one-year fixed savings bond from 2% to 1.8% for new customers.

The challenger bank had raised the rate from 1.5% in February.

For those who missed out on bagging Atom’s market-leading deal but who still want to tie their money up for a 12-month period, here are the current best buys available:

One-year bond

Despite Atom’s rate cut, its one-year fixed rate bond still sits at the top of the best buy tables. A big draw is the minimum saving amount is £50, which is much lower than competitors’ offerings.  However, it’s worth noting that Atom’s products can be only opened and monitored via a mobile app.

The next best deal comes from OakNorth Bank – its 12-month bond pays 1.62% but you need a minimum of £1,000 to open an account. If you can stretch your saving time horizon slightly, its 15 month bond pays 1.63%, again with a minimum £1,000 required.

A cluster of banks offer 1.50%: United Trust Bank (minimum £500), Aldermore (minimum £1,000) and The Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) has an expected rate of 1.50%, though savers need to dig deep as it requires a minimum of £25,000.

In comparison, the top easy access savings account from RCI Bank pays 1.10%.

Notice account

These accounts give you access to your money once you’ve given the provider advance notice that you wish to withdraw your savings – typically between 30 and 180 days.

The current leader in the best buy table is Secure Trust Bank paying 1.35% for its 90 day notice account (minimum £1,000) or 1.20% for its 120 day notice account.

Best buy ISAs

As well as being tax-free year-on-year, some ISAs are flexible, meaning savers can withdraw and replace their savings within the same tax-year without losing the full ISA tax benefits.

The current limit is £15,240 which can be saved before 6 April 2017 and the best one year fixed rate ISA is from Newcastle Building Society, paying 1.20% on a minimum £500. Sharia-compliant Al Rayan Bank pays an expected rate of 1.09% (minimum £1,000), while Virgin Money pays 1.05% on a minimum of £1.

If you can’t get excited about these rates for fixing your money in an ISA, you could open a variable cash ISA. The top deal is offered by Virgin Money, paying 1.01% (min £1).

National Savings & Investments’ (NS&I) variable cash ISA pays 1% on a minimum £1 savings amount.

The alternatives

If you can show some restraint with your savings, high interest current accounts could offer an alternative option to house your money.

These accounts often offer higher rates of interest than many savings accounts, in addition to giving the holder easy access to their money. However, you need to be aware of the requirements of the account, such as meeting a minimum monthly deposit and setting up a number of direct debits or standing orders.

TSB has recently stormed the best buy table with its new TSB Classic Plus current account allowing customers to earn up to £10 cashback a month plus 3% interest on balances up to £1,500, as long as £500 is paid in monthly and two direct debits are set up.

Halifax has recently cut its switching bonus to £75 and culled its monthly reward from £5 to £3 but it comes in second place in the best buys, according to Moneyfacts. It requires two monthly direct debits and a minimum of £750 to be paid in each month.

In third place is Nationwide’s FlexDirect account offering 5% interest for a year on balances up to £2,500 as long as £1,000 is paid in each month. After 12 months the interest rate falls to 1%.

‘Act fast with any great deal’

Savers need to act fast when good rates appear as deals can disappear quickly.

One example is Tesco Bank’s current account which guarantees 3% on balances up to £3,000 for two years. Within weeks of launching, Tesco had to pause applications due to unprecedented demand.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “Challenger banks have really ignited some much-needed competition into the savings market and can be an attractive alternative to the more familiar brands which offer poorer returns.

“It’s clear that the challengers have more capacity to offer attractive savings rates than the big banks as they are likely to desire deposits for long-term funding requirements. As with any great deal, savers would be wise to act fast as a good rate won’t always be around for long.”

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